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Thursday, August 5, 2021

Review: The Boy Behind The Door

Director: David Charbonier and Justin Powell

Screenplay: David Charbonier and Justin Powell

Year: 2021

Just a few months ago, the duo of David Charbonier and Justin Powell released their first film, “The Djinn”, which generated high expectations, but failed to impress us. Now comes to Shudder their second film, "The Boy Behind The Door" which had already premiered at independent film festivals and had been received positively.

In "The Boy Behind the Door" we see Ezra Dewey, who starred in "The Djinn" and who was the best part of that movie, who is kidnapped along with his friend Bobby. Both children are transported to a house in the middle of nowhere, where Bobby manages to escape, but who does not leave his friend behind. Now both children must face their captors in order to escape from there alive.

Once the kidnapping occurs, which takes place fairly early in the film, directors David Charbonier and Justin Powell focus all their efforts on following Bobby and creating as much tension as possible. By keeping the camera close to Bobby, not knowing what the captors are doing, and all the time waiting for an unexpected appearance, they manage to keep the tension at such high levels that it is uncomfortable (in a good way).

Cinematography and sound design also play a critical role in creating tension. The way the camera is used to show or not certain actions is great, and the way the sounds complement what we can't see is just as good. Together with the performances, which are correct, to say the least, they are enough to get us fully into the story in the first bars of duration.

However, as the film progresses and we are exposed to a number of nonsensical or unrealistic decisions, we gradually move away from the plot and everything that is done well on the technical side. And the worst part is that these unrealistic moments come early (how can a person wipe a blood-filled floor with a paper towel in just a few minutes?). These moments keep popping up at every major plot twist and moment and spoil what could have been a great movie.

On a technical level, "The Boy Behind The Door" does an excellent job. Cinematography, sound design, and other technical aspects work seamlessly to create tension and interesting style. However, the amount of questionable decisions and unrealistic situations the protagonists are involved in is bad enough to ruin the entire movie. Apparently, this is the weak point of these directors.

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